Mall-itics Pt. 1

There was more than enough fodder at the June 10th Longmont City Council meeting having to do with the Twin Peaks Mall that it will probably take a couple of articles to cover.
First, to the dynamic of the council members themselves. There is a perception, a fairly true one in my opinion, that there is a “bloc” of councilmembers, often referred to the “Benker Bloc” after Councilmember and Mayor Pro-Tem Karen Benker. Whenever one of these four members votes outside of the other three (the others being Councilmembers Levison, McCoy, and Hansen) you’ll hear their surrogate Kool-Aid drinkers point out their supposed “independence”.
There was always hope that once they got in, reality would set in and these new councilmembers would become more objective and have a hard time constantly siding with their other like-minded members and show some independence. Especially when those other members are just wrong. But that’s assuming some honesty and decency exists there, an assumption some may not be willing to give. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, and have mentioned positive things they’ve said or done. That doesn’t mean truly ignorant comments don’t emanate from them once in a while, as they do.
At this meeting, Karen Benker was consistent with her support of the Twin Peaks Mall and its redevelopment. I’ve read her comments about it in the paper, I’ve seen similar comments at City Council meetings and Mall citizen meetings. A comment was made on the Times Call website that this proves there is no “bloc”, which of course is hogwash, as one instance doth not make a pattern. It’s an example of where in this instance she’s just right, and the other three are just wrong.
There is another dynamic, although I don’t believe it weighs heavily in Ms. Benker’s position on this, but should be considered: Ms. Benker is the only of these four to be up for re-election (or another run at Mayor) in 2009. The other three aren’t up until 2011. There’s some safety in the knowledge that if you royally screw up this Mall decision, you’re safe from the voters wrath for quite a while longer. By the way, all four of the councilmembers who have consistently voted in favor of the mall redevelopment are up for re-election in 2009. The three who have consistently voted against it aren’t up until 2011.
I’m not one to call for re-calls, and I’ve been asked to be involved and turn those requests down. But this issue is a big one for Longmont, bigger to Longmont’s future than the Lifebridge development. If this is mishandled and derailed by a couple members of city council with an obvious agenda, they shouldn’t feel so safe in that full term if we see a boarded up fiasco where the mall sits. We’ll know exactly who’s to blame, and that is a cause I could get behind.
Those that are up for re-election in 2009 take a considerable risk as more than likely at that time the mall area will be less than 50% redeveloped, and it could be a bunch of dirt and construction with little revenue generation. In other words what they call “black” (but I think they mean “dark”). It won’t be in the “black” for a while after that, but at least the public will see something going on, some hope for the future. Not this stalling, bleak, do-nothing, no plan plan that three of our councilmembers are adamant in shoving.
In the next part, I’ll mention the disingenuous tactic of ” just wanting more answers” some are attempting when their questions are clearly agenda driven and the answers they get make absolutely no difference in their decision making. And of course their flat out misrepresentations of the truth to make a point.

About Chris Rodriguez

Chris is the editor/publisher of LightningRod Blog - as well as founder/editor of Wrongmont, Longmont Advocate, Vote!Longmont, Longmont Politics, the LightningRod Radio Network, as well as being the original Longmont Examiner. Chris is a writer and talker - whether it be blogs, podcasts, music, or public speaking. When he's not heard on Air Traffic radio, he can be heard on his podcasts or seen in the local paper causing trouble.
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2 Responses to Mall-itics Pt. 1

  1. Pingback: Benker’s achilles heel: The Twin Peaks Mall - LightningRod Blog

  2. Pingback: Rewriting Mall history - LightningRod Blog

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